Grand County Social Service: Public Health Week stressed healthier people, healthier climate |

Grand County Social Service: Public Health Week stressed healthier people, healthier climate

Column by the social service community
Wrap Your Arms Around Grand County

The public’s concern about the impact of climate change has been increasing dramatically in recent years, but this week, Grand County Public Health Nursing Service is doing something about it. During National Public Health Week, April 7 to 13, state and local health departments are joined the American Public Health Association in asking Americans to pledge to change their behavior in six important ways for a healthier climate.

The theme for the public health week this year is “Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance.” Americans across the country will be asked to commit to changes in their lives that not only mean a healthier climate, but have the added benefit of making them healthier.

Here’s how you can help:

– Be Prepared. Get educated about the health impacts of climate change and regional climate change issues facing your community and take action to prepare for possible disasters. Compile an at-home emergency kit.

– Travel Differently. Leave the vehicle at home and take public transportation if available. Walk or bike. If you need to drive, carpool. If you can, telecommute.

– Eat Differently and Exercise. Buy food from a community farmer’s market where food hasn’t traveled across the country to get to your supermarket shelves. Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat. Do some form of physical activity at least 30 minutes each day, perhaps by breaking the activity into 10-minute increments throughout the day.

– Green Your Work. Participate in your community’s recycling program. Use recycled paper if you don’t already, and even if you do, print less often and on both sides of the paper. Set your computer to energy-saver mode and buy eco-friendly office furniture.

– Green Your Home. Insulate your home so energy isn’t going out the windows. Reduce your use of wasteful products, reuse or recycle the products you do use and conserve water. Use compact fluorescent bulbs.

– Pick up litter around your neighborhood: Walk around your house and pick up all the litter. Coordinate with your neighbors to clean up your neighborhood, making only one trip to the county garbage dump for larger items.

There is a direct connection between climate change and our health. During public health week, Grand County Public Health Nursing Service worked to bring attention to a healthier world. We want to continue to see people making changes in their own lives to help lead to a healthier climate. Making changes about how we travel, eat, live and work will have the added benefit of making us healthier, too.

For more than a decade, the American Public Health Association has organized National Public Health Week and developed national campaigns to educate the public, policy-makers and practitioners about issues important to improving the public’s health. By making climate change the theme for 2008, health officials hope to start a major shift in how society thinks about and deals with this looming challenge, and to get people thinking about what they can do to protect themselves, their families and their communities.

For ideas on the health impact of climate change, visit the National Public Health Week Web site at or contact Grand County Public Health Nursing Service at (970) 725-3288.

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